Businesses destroyed by collapse
BY LAURI VOTER Staff Writer
Stafford — posted 02/17/2011
In an instant , the view along Main Street in Stafford Springs changed on Feb . 4 . Just before noon , the building located at 31-39 Main St . succumbed to the weight of snow on its roof , collapsing in on itself and onto the sidewalk below .
“ Nobody was injured , ” said Stafford First Selectman Michael P . Krol .
According to Krol , there were no pedestrians near the building at the time , and no vehicles were passing by at that moment . Although an elderly couple was in the laundromat located within the structure at the time the roof collapsed , they were able to get out of the building unharmed . Their van , which was parked out front , received some damage from falling bricks .
After the incident occurred , the town of Stafford sprang into action .
“ First of all , along with emergency personnel , youhave to decide what the danger is , and make an executive decision , ” said Krol .
Since the building was considered a public safety issue , the town decided that the best course of action was to tear it down immediately . To that end , Main Street was blocked off for the remainder of the evening , and into the early hours of the following day , while the building was demolished .
Due to foreclosure , ownership of the property was recently transferred to a mortgage company , Apex Mortgage , of Fort Washington , Penn . In turn , Apex Mortgage was attempting to sell the property through the Stafford-based real estate company Connecticut Crossroads Realty ( CCR ) .
Krol indicated that the town contacted CCR , called the bank and contacted the mortgage company . “ We took [ the building ] down and are trying to find Apex to get reimbursement . We have to be reasonable and find the least expensive way to do it , so we line up the demo team and disposal of rubble , ” said Krol .
“ They were shocked that the building came down so fast . They thought they would have more time to decide what to do , ” said CCR broker Andy Goodhall .
Stafford’s building official / town engineer , Dennis C . Milanovich , P . E ., condemned the building , stating that in his professional opinion , it appeared that “ the snow load exceeded the capacity of the building . ”
“ We couldn’t leave an unstable structure , ” said Milanovich .
The building collapse negatively impacted several small businesses that were operating out of that site : Tiny Bubbles ( 31 Main St . ); AMC Construction LLC ( 35 Main St . ); and La Petite France French Bakery & Café ( 33 Main St . ) were all destroyed .
Jocelyne Bolduc , who ran AMC’s Stafford office , indicated that she is now attempting to run the business out of a location in Thorndike , Mass . No AMC employee was in the building when it collapsed . According to Bolduc , she was usually the only employee in the office on Fridays , but on Feb . 4 , she was sick . “ The estimator and project manager were on the road , ” she said .
Bolduc has filed a claim with her insurance company , and intends to find a new Stafford location for her business . In the meantime , her company , which specializes in commercial drywall and finish carpentry , can be reached at 860-851-9721 .
Alexandra and Romeo Litor , owners of La Petite France , are also planning to look around for a new location for their bakery , which may or may not be in Stafford . The Litors maintain a second location at 967 Farmington Ave ., in West Hartford , but all of the baking for that branch was done at the Stafford site . The Litors lost all of their equipment .
“ My husband was in the bakery when it collapsed , ” said Alexandra Litor , who explained that Romeo Litor heard the structure start to give way , and was able to get out of the bakery unharmed .
Because the structure was too unstable , the Litors could only get into the building for a few moments to quickly retrieve some recipes .
“ The fire marshal would not let us go inside . He let me go to get recipes and [ cook ] books , ” said Alexandra Litor .
The ReminderNews was not able to make contact with anyone from the laundromat , Tiny Bubbles . A representative from Apex Mortgage stated that no one there would make comments for publication .
Krol said that the remaining rubble from the demolished building will be taken away by USA Hauling , indicating that the wood , brick and metal will be recycled .